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since 16/02/2006


Air Berlin 29/09/2006

Air Berlin, German efficiency at its best ?

Air Berlin Air Berlin are a newish airline trying to tap the short haul cheap end of the market, they offer a 'no frills' approach and as such you get what you pay for. We booked via an independent travel agent so thankfully did not have to endure the website or phones etc. I was surprised, I will be honest, as a family we are not great fliers (the wife hates it) and as such have little to compare. On our flight to Benidorm we seemed to have a spanking new Airbus, which showed the route, time, temperature etc and although the 'entertainment' was a little lame, this is a German Airline which was operating on a UK - Spain route, so what should everyone expect. Staff on board were courteous and the fact you got a free sandwich and soft drink was good enough as I was expecting to cough up overtime they walked around. To summarise, there were many good points, namely, clean and fresh, courteous staff, free snack / drink, check in times were good (although the terrorist threat did not help), and the outbound leg was very pleasant... except the landing which was a bit hairy as the pilot could not keep it straight coming in due to a bit of wind (from the plane), this caused it to rock from side to side... doesn't sound that bad but when you hear applause from parts of the plane you realise it maybe wasn't as good as it could be. Anyhow that was the outbound from Stanstead. The inbound from Alicante was a little different, firstly the check in............... ....... slow..............very ...

Thistle Poole Quay Hotel, Poole 01/06/2006

Harbouring a hotel........ Poole

Thistle Poole Quay Hotel, Poole We recently stayed at the Thistle Hotel in Poole and have to say that of the many hotels we have stayed this must rank amongst the top 5. Based right on the harbour, and I mean right on it, about 20 feet, the view of the boats coming / going, the yachts and the general ambience of the place was excellent. Our room on the second floor was spacious with a separate seating area and very clean. The bed was good to firm and storage was exceptional, good storage was needed as the wife insisted on taking 16, yes sixteen different tops for a two night stay. The bathroom was light and airy and the room in generally had all the things you expect, i.e. Trouser Press, Shower, Bath, Iron, Hair Drier etc etc.. Of all the good things there are, as always, a couple of drawbacks. Firstly was the heat, it was just so warm in the hotel in general, the room, the lift, the lobby, even the bar seemed too warm, this is a personal taste thing I know, but if you like air conditioned hotels, check before you leave to make sure they have switched it on. The only other thing was the bars, I was always under the impression that the majority of hotels will keep a bar open 24 hours, this hotel had two, one shut at 1030 and the other at midnight, now whilst midnight maybe acceptable, when you have been out all day at the surrounding area and would like a quiet drink or three just past twelve, this can be a bit annoying. I know, I know there is room service but this is an even more expensive way of ...

Swallow Chaucer Hotel, Canterbury 27/04/2006

Would Chaucer have stayed here & wrote his tales?

Swallow Chaucer Hotel, Canterbury We recently stayed at the Chaucer Hotel Canterbury, although most hotels are the same, some bare different character to others (Naturally) and the 'experience' is altogether more rewarding than staying in a multi-national hotel company. We found this at the Chaucer. Although it is owned by a group (Swallow Group Hotels), they have managed to keep its character by not standardizing the layout / decor etc and trying to make it 'stand out' from other hotels in the area. Upon arriving we were greeted with a grumpy 20 something receptionist that seemed she didn't want to be there, we did begin to wonder why we chose the place, in fairness it was a Saturday and she properly really didn't want to be there !!, however we got our keys an continued.... the room was well decorated with a hint of antiqueness about it, the bathroom was well laid out, spacious and above all clean (apart from a little water staining around the sink, hard to notice). Basically it was what you expected from a hotel, however......... the floor boards.... I don't know what it was, but creaky would be a substantial understatement, they creaked when you moved, when you didn't, when the neighboring people moved both upstairs and the side, it didn't spoil sleep, it just made for another interesting part for the hotel. The bar area was warm and spacious, although I personally found the barman a little 'above himself', probably because I am a 30 something and thought I was a 'scally wag' given that other guests were ...

V Slicer 04/04/2006

V Slicer.... is it as good as the advert suggests?

V Slicer Quote funny really, wife and I were 'flicking' the TV back and forth and came across one of those SAT TV Channels selling kitchen gadgets, the advert we came across was a V Slicer, this 'wonderful tool that slices / grates / chops everything with ease.... so.... we dutifully laid our £ 20.00 and waiting the 7 days for it to get here. When arrived, whilst it was in a box, no instructions came with it and considering you got 5 boards for thick and thin cuts etc, and the slicer itself it was a bit hit and miss figuring out how it worked anyhow, so off I went, shredding about 20 'test' potatoes to try and make chips like the man on telly, trying to chop onions like the man on the telly, and trying to cut a block of luncheon meat.... like the man on the telly. Did it work..... ?, kind of. It did slice, it did chop, but I think in this instance a lot practice will make perfect. You have to bare in mind than when these adverts are on, you tend to have either the designers of it or a chef who has spent the last month training and getting used to it so he makes himself and the product look good for T.V. after all, would you buy a gadget that threw bits of onion and potatoes everywhere ?. I must also point out that when you do start using, when you place the thickness boards in, to begin with they can be a bit sticky to get out and clean, also, if a bit of potato gets stuck between the blade and the board, DO NOT do what the wife tried to do and poke it through with her finger.... ...

HP LaserJet 2420n 09/03/2006

Hewlett Packard (super) Fast printer... 2420n

HP LaserJet 2420n We have recently had printer installed in a small office of 4 and have to say that the choice was correct. Although at £ 500.00 it may seem a little expensive for a simple machine, the printer is very fast, reliable and of exceptional quality. Ease of setup was an issue but this was also taken care of with and as such must be recommended for even the most computer illiterate. (Simple plug and play). The only drawback is the cost of replacement cartridges, at around £ 80.00, this is expensive, although for the amount it uses and the number of prints you get (Around 10000) it probably works out to a very minimal cost per print. That coupled with the fact that there have been no technical hitches, I highly recommend for a small office environment or someone who prints a lot at home.... ...

Samsung E530 23/02/2006

Samsung E530

Samsung E530 I bought this for the wife as a late birthday present, and must admit I was impressed. The phone is lightweight, small with good quality features. The camera was of a good quality and the video exceptional. The MP3 player probably only holds enough for about 20 songs and if you add games / other tones etc this will probably reduce. I also get the feeling that it may not last as long a some on the market as it did feel a little plasticy, I did find the screen a little small, and my chunky fingers couldn't cope with the buttons too clever, however given the colour scheme and the fact that I bought it for the wife, this shouldn't detract from the fact that this is a good cost effective phone (I paid just under £150.00) that will keep all entertained and have more than enough features for the techy phone fan. A good choice if you choose to buy. ...

Morphy Richards 73171 17/02/2006

Hoover problems...

Morphy Richards 73171 I cannot really say much too bad about the hoover, as we may just have been unlucky however, we recently purchase one of these (Aug 2005) and within 2 weeks the power switch and spring came away and nearly imbedded itself in the wall just missing two dogs and my ear along the way. This we could live with, a couple of weeks later, the filter at the back blew off, we tried to stick it back with tape etc but to know avail, as it still worked with extra tape we carried on, just recently, it finally came a cropper when, the back blew off, the power switch came of again, the cord recoil switch joined the power switch and smoke was coming out the rear. All the above aside, when it did work, it worked very well and the replacement we have had for three days is still in one piece. ...

Mazda 6 17/02/2006

Mazda 6 1.8TS

Mazda 6 A good quality well made car however, although the Japanese have clearly invested a lot of money in the design layout of the 'cab', the road noise and quality of the ride is a bit noisy at high end speed (70). This aside after test driving the Mondeo (Ford) and A4 (Audi), I chose the Mazda for various reasons, not least, excellent value for money, good looks, comfortable and a lot of equipment for little money and extremely reliable. If you are after somehting a little different, do a lot of mileage, do not mind a little above average road noise I would highly recommend. For just under £14000 I obtained a car whose equipment levels and qualitly of build are akin to that of a car for £ 19000+. ...
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